Our lives have been consumed lately, by all things related to moving our business. We were finally on-track with a building that was the right size, price and location. We signed a letter of intent, had verbal agreements through our Agent and theirs and a start date of September 23rd, which would give us a week to vacate the old place by month's end.
The other side didn't buy into the urgency and let days go by with lawyers writing addendums at snail's pace and then those who needed to sign were away for a few days and then felt disinclined to drive a few miles to do paperwork, so FedEx was our intermediary. Frustrations almost boiled over when we were finally given a lease to sign on September 27th. Our agent went off with the lease and our deposit check to finalize the hand over.
Our new landlord, whom we had yet to meet, sent us an email saying it would be convenient for him to drive (the huge 50 miles) on the afternoon of Thursday Sept.29th, to meet us and give us a key. Another two days lost, with no recourse.
The minute we had the key our electrician came in to start preparing for our machines. Ten minutes into his visit, he announced that there was no three-phase power in the building!
Someone, somewhere must know the name of that sinking feeling we all get and recognize when things are going horribly wrong.
We had gone through several hoops regarding previous sites that had turned out to be inadequate or too expensive to adapt. Our agent is a professional who is also involved in commercial construction projects so, when he phoned and said "I have a great building for you, and it has all the power you need", we never doubted him for a minute.
I know that when he received my "Houston, we have a problem!" call, he also experienced that "feeling". He came right over and set about trying to contact our landlords, through their agent. It was still before 9am on our first day of possession of the building and we were already dead in the water.
We had to wait and wonder what our Plan-B would be if this deal was falling through. We were under pressure, already exceeding our move out dates on one side and no firm idea of where to go on the other. In addition, if this were to blow up and go "Legal" we had committed our funds and had no room to maneuver to get another place.
I respect rules of etiquette and know that our agent had to go through the agent on the other side. I gave them until early afternoon and then over-rode my Good-Girl instincts and took it upon myself to call our new landlord directly. I was met by an answering machine and left a message detailing how upset we were and asking for an immediate response.
Hubby and I were frantically trying to talk through our options and alternatives and decided that, in the interest of self-preservation, we had to put a stop payment on our deposit check. At the risk of ruining our relationship with our new landlords from the start, we had to maintain the ability to go somewhere else and live to fight another day.
Late in the afternoon, as I was getting in my car to head home, my cell phone rang with a response to my frantic message. Susie, co-owner of our property and designated property manager, had just received my cry for help and we were able to introduce ourselves and discuss our problem. I asked her to get in touch with our agent herself. I also apologized about the necessity we had felt to stop payment on the check. I said we'd replace it the next day, if we could all agree on a solution. She was very understanding and not upset as I had feared she might be.
Multiple calls went back and forth, one from our agent, happy to be released from his obligation to wait for a call back from his counterpart. He has a genuine concern for our needs with the added incentive of a commission to lose if this falls apart.
The positive side of all this is finding out that our landlords are reasonable people, after all the lawyerly paperwork and keeping their distance, we had our doubts about them. They propose to participate and pay half of any work that's required, financing the rest for us for a nominal increased rent over time. We can wait a week or two to get machines rolling, to allow them to do the work. Our agent is getting bids, pulling permits and supervising the task. Everyone takes a small hit and we all move forward. We are all making a leap of faith that we can get through this. I'm sure it's going to cost more than the initial estimate. Prove me wrong, please. Not working and not knowing what comes next would cost us more.
Yesterday we loaded up and transported eight truck loads of stone. We started again at first light this morning.